Sunday, September 30, 2012

Book Review: The Secret Race

Thinking of take a bike trip soon? Check out Joao Correia's tour company inGamba. Ride like PROs, with PROs.

I just got done with The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton and Dan Coyle and it is fantastic. It's by far the best cycling book I've ever read.

In short--spoilers later on--it is the most comprehensive and transparent book on the realities of PRO cycling I've read. David Walsh's works and a handful of interviews have shed light on a lot of areas, but nothing like the first hand account of a former PRO. I rarely read books all the way through without getting bored, but this one was juicy from end to end. What's better, it makes watching movies like Hell on Wheels really fun.


Okay, so midway through the book I'm thinking "Wow, you know I can't stand Lance's righteous, holier-than-thou attitude, but in the world of cycling and doping he was a champ. Chapeau." Until I got to about 80%--I was reading it on my Kindle app so not sure the page number. That's about the time when Hamilton talks about Lance snitching on him to Verbruggen about doping. To be clear, that's Lance narcing on Hamilton for doing the same thing he was doing, but getting better results. That was pretty lame. (The book also mentions that a Livestrong lobbyist tried to get the FBI investigation stopped. Use of taxpayer money to investigate doping, bad idea. Use of cancer donations to avoid consequences of career-long cheating, very bad idea. That's definitely on par with the Floyd Fairness Fund.)

All in all, I thought Hamilton did a great job of telling his story via Coyle. It sounds like he's in a better place which is good to hear. I don't think that all who take PEDs are bad people and I don't fault Hamilton (or Lance) for what he did. We all, all humans, at times skirt and cross ethical lines. Where we go from there is usually decided long before those lines are crossed. It's in our genes, our families, our childhoods, and our environments. And to those who say they'd have made the "right choice", I say instead of being righteous be grateful for having had the conditions to allow you to make that choice.

Rock on Tyler! (and #narcstrong)

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